nutrition-3This a typical conversation I have had with someone health conscious about their breakfast habit.

Typical Client : I always start the healthy balanced breakfast

Strength Sensei: Enlighten me.

Typical Client: I usually have a bowl of healthy cereal like shredded wheat, in skim milk of course, and half a banana sliced into it.

Strength Sensei: Why this choice?

Typical Client: To avoid the evil saturated fats you know, I am health conscious you know. Sometimes I substitute either with a low-fat bagel with margarine and honey on.

Strength Sensei: Lets get a few things straight here.

1) Saturated fats are not evil. What fits into the evil category are Hitler, Stalin, chemical warfare, reality shows and ISIS.

2) Most cereal brands have a glycemic index that ranges from 60 to 110. The glycemic index is a measurement of the type or quality of carbohydrates in a particular food, and how fast 50 grams of this carbohydrate raises blood glucose levels, (and consequent insulin secretion and effects produced by the pancreas) as it is digested.

Porridge (Oatmeal) 60
•Muesli 60
•Special K 70
•Honeysmacks 60
•Sustain 66
•Cornflakes 76

Please note that there are no difference between Honeysmacks and oatmeal in terms of glycemic index.
As a rule of thumb, when seeking fat loss you do not want to eat foods with a glycemic index of above 50.

3) Skim milk is horrendous if you want to lose fat as it has a high insulin load.

4) Bagels are only a great food choice if your goal is to increase bodyfat. It has a glycemic index of 72!. They are so good at increasing blood sugar, that a study done on long distance cyclists showed that bagels are superior to Power Bars at raising blood glucose. And they are easier to chew than those poor substitutes for a hockey puck.

5) Margarine (1) is for dorks. It is typically good at spreading arteriosclerosis. No pun intended.

6) Honey may be more natural lets say than some high fructose corn syrup laden jam, it is still a simple sugar.

7) Bananas have a glycemic load of 12, while cherries would have a glycemic load of 3. What’s the Glycemic Load? 
While the glycemic index classifies foods according to how fast 50g of carbs in them raises our blood glucose levels, Glycemic Load indicates how fast a standard portion of a particular food (like bananas) raises blood glucose, and thus gives an indication of glycemic and insulin response.

Typical Client: But skim milk is low in saturated fat!

Strength Sensei: So is Napalm. Skim milk certainly has a low glycemic index, but it has a high insulin index. Now when you combine a high glycemic food with a food with a high insulin load, you are asking your body to increase your cardiovascular risk factors and to age prematurely.

Typical Client:But I read that breakfast cereal is part of healthy and balanced breakfast.

Strength Sensei: Hey, if you believe that, you will also believe that Britney Spears read Leo Tolstoi’s War and Peace cover to cover at age 8.  You want to lose fat, you got to change a few things. One, you got to go for grain-less breakfast.

Typical Client: What about Kashi? Isn’t that healthy?

Strength Sensei: Actually the box it comes in is more nutritious.

Typical Client: What if I switched to organic box cereal?

Strength Sensei: Worse, yes it may have more protein, but the protein is also denatured. Hence, you get more denatured protein than in the standard one. A great way to induce more long term brain damage. Lovely!

Typical Client: I am so stupid.

Strength Sensei: You are not stupid, just misinformed by mass media. Being misinformed does not make you a bad person, just a misinformed one. Even Oprah gets misinformed.

Typical Client: What should I eat then?

Strength Sensei: Very simple, before our meeting tomorrow, do me a favor, and go on my website and read the following article on the meat and nuts breakfast

If you need more information on insulin load, glycemic index, glycemic load etc… please go to

Rick Mendosa does an impressive job with keeping current with all the information surrounding those topics.

Stay healthy,

Coach Charles R. Poliquin


(1) the increased risk may be connected to trans fatty acids or to some other factor associated with margarine consumption.

Adipose tissue fatty acids and risk of myocardial infarction–a case-control study
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition August, 2000;54:618-625.